Aston Villa 0-1 Wolves | Match report

Aston Villa 0 Wolves 1 (Dendoncker 62)

Leander Dendoncker’s sweetly-struck effort saw Wolves continue their perfect record following the Premier League restart at the expense of West Midlands rivals Aston Villa. The Belgian hit the decisive blow, finishing off a fine team move with a clinical left-footed strike from the edge of the box.

It was a game which followed a similar pattern to victories over West Ham United and AFC Bournemouth, with the contest goalless at the break, but being settled by one piece of quality, as Man of the Match Dendoncker capped a fine performance with his fifth goal of the season.

Previously, Diogo Jota had wasted a fine opportunity to open the scoring before the break, but Wolves never looked in danger at the back, with clean sheets matching the wins since the restart, three from three and job done so far.

Despite the absent atmosphere of a usual West Midlands derby, the opening stages offered up plenty of hustle and bustle, and Wolves enjoyed the first sight of goal. From a dangerous Joao Moutinho free-kick, Raul Jimenez glanced goalwards, but Orjan Nyland gathered at the second attempt.

Soon after, Matt Doherty threatened, but will have been disappointed with the outcome of his venture forward. The Irishman benefited from a ricochet and found space down the right, but slammed his effort into the side netting, rather than picking out his attacking options in the middle.

As for Villa, they’d enjoyed their fair share of possession, without truly troubling Rui Patricio. It took until the 37th for their first shot on goal, as Jack Grealish cut on to his right foot and fired down the throat of the Portuguese stopper.

However, the best chance of the half was still to come. It arrived in bizarre circumstances, as Nyland made a mess of his throw and the ball fell invitingly for Jota, but the forward hit a rocketed first time shot narrowly over the bar and will have regretted his decision, given the time and space available to him.

Half-time: Aston Villa 0 Wolves 0

The opening 15 minutes of the second period offered little in the way in chances, but that changed within an instance, upon the introduction of Adama Traore.

The wide man replaced Jota and was instantly involved, skipping past a number of challenges and finding Jimenez out wide. The Mexican picked out the clever run of Jonny, who controlled and set up Dendoncker, who steadied himself and beautifully picked out the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

Wolves were exactly where they wanted to be and were able to snuff out any Villa venture forward. When Villa did enjoy a sight of goal, Trezeguet wasted the opportunity, rolling his effort into the side netting.

For the final five minutes, Pedro Neto took to the pitch, taking the place of Jimenez. From there, it was a case of game management for Nuno Espirito Santo’s men and they did it typically well, frustrating Villa and seeing the job over the line professionally.

Full-time: Aston Villa 0 Wolves 1

Villa: Nyland, Hause, Konsa (El Mohamady 60), Mings, Targett (Taylor 11), Luiz, Nakamba (Trezeguet 82), Hourihane (McGinn 60), Grealish, Davis (El Ghazi 82), Samatta.

Unused subs: Reina, Taylor, Drinkwater, Vassilev.

Wolves: Patricio, Doherty, Boly, Coady, Saiss, Jonny, Neves, Moutinho, Dendoncker, Jota (Traore 59), Jimenez (Neto 85).

Unused subs: Ruddy, Vinagre, Buur, Kilman, Jordao, Gibbs-White, Podence.